Take Care of Your Screens and Keep the Bugs Out

By HomeAdvisor

Updated May 17, 2016

Screened in porch

Screen repair is one of the most put off home improvement projects largely because most people are unaware that screens can be repaired in the first place. Add to that the fact that few people realize there are companies out there that specialize in screen restoration and screen repair, and it’s easy to see why those nuisance holes in screens are left to the mosquitoes and flies. Eventually they will grow into full scale tears and entire screen replacements.

Screen Maintenance

The best way to prevent the need for screen repair is to take good care of your screens in the first place. A well-maintained screen will rarely tear or break, and the maintenance required is minimal compared to the extended life it will provide your window screens. Clean screens yearly with a stiff bristle brush to remove dirt, dust, and other debris, and if you have galvanized metal screening, apply thinned screen enamel, paint, or varnish to them every few years. Taking care of your window frames is almost as important as taking care of the screens themselves.

Paint wooden frames every few years and clean aluminum frames with aluminum polish or steel wool, and coat them with paste wax at the same intervals. If your screens have wood frames, reinforcing the corners with corrugated fasteners, wood screws, glued-in wood dowels, or metal reinforcing angles will extend the life of not only your frames, but of the screens they hold as well.

There’s a Hole In The Bucket, Dear Liza, Dear Liza

Even those who perform impeccable window and window screen maintenance run into window screen repair problems eventually. The key is to tackle a hole when it’s small, before it has a chance to develop into a real problem. Small holes or tears are relatively easy to address as long as you have the right materials. These supplies include replacement screen to match your screen material and special glue to fasten your patch onto the screen. To perform a window screen repair, cut out a patch slightly larger than the hole that needs to be repaired, lay it down over the hole on top of a hard, smooth surface, and then apply your glue over the overlap. If you’re using metal screen, leave a few longer wires accessible and further “stitch” your patch and screen together. Voila, you’re done!

Beyond Repair

While performing screen repairs on a small hole is a relatively easy task, repairing those same holes when they’ve been ignored and neglected over a long period of time is an entirely different ball game altogether. Larger holes in screens are difficult to repair in the fashion mentioned above and simply won’t hold. About the only way to perform window screen repair on large holes is to replace the screen altogether. While this isn’t an impossible job to tackle on your own, if it isn’t done right your screens will sag and come loose. Add to that the fact that it does require the purchase of a few specialized tools, many homeowners understandably choose to hire a screen repair specialist to swap out their screens when it becomes necessary.

If You’re Replacing Them Anyway . . .

If you are faced with replacing your screens, consider talking with your screen repair specialist about higher end screens that wear better and perform other functions as well. Flame retardant screens, screens that filter sunlight, and pet proof screens (up to seven times stronger than your average window screen) can all be installed for a little extra money and are well worth the extra cost in the end.

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